Harrogate’s unsung hospitality heroes were rewarded for their excellence and commitment on Monday night during a glittering gala dinner at the Royal Hall.
Now in its fourth year, the sell-out awards evening, which is organised by Destination Harrogate, was hosted by TV celebrity and journalist, Janet Street-Porter.
The Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards were set up celebrate and reward people working in the hospitality and tourism industry, and individualswho show the highest levels of commitment and strive towards excellence on the town’s behalf.
During February and March members of the public and visitors to Harrogate were invited to nominate individuals who they thought deserved special recognition.
More than 700 nominations were collected before a shortlist of 33 was chosen by judges across nine categories.
This year’s winners include The Mercer Art Gallery which last year was significantly refurbished and re-opened with the record breaking exhibition of Atkinson Grimshaw, painter of the Moonlight collection.
This exhibition sold over 5,000 catalogues and attracted over 36,000 visitors in a four month period with national acclaim.
Judges saud it was a wonderful opportunity, well executed, thoroughly enjoyed by all and attracted coverage in national media. Visitors came from all over the country and many extended their stay, supporting the local economy – it put Harrogate art on the map.
One of the most prestigious awards of the night, the Harrogate Ambassador of the Year was won by Pam Grant, president of Harrogate in Bloom.
Pam and the team have had many successes promoting Harrogate as a beautiful floral town.
This year they also managed to gain national media recognition with the making and showing of the BBC TV Programme Bees, Butterflies & Blooms which showed Harrogate at its very best on national television.
Several repeats and many more visitors can be expected from the programme - especially if Harrogate wins the Champions Award in Britain in Bloom this year.
David Ritson, chairman of Destination Harrogate and general manager of The Old Swan Hotel, said;
“The awards are a fantastic event for the town and beyond. They reward not only the winners, but all those who work in every area of hospitality, recognising the effort and commitment they make on a daily basis.”
Simon Cotton, general manager of the Cedar Court Hotel and vice chairman of Destination Harrogate, who helps organise the awards added;
“Once again we received a huge number of entries this year and it was great to see such a large number of the community getting involved.
“We have been able to reward some very worthy winners.
“The success of the awards in just a short space of time is also reflective in the diversity of businesses and associations getting involved, with the short list this year including not only hotels, restaurants and bars, but also a museum, an art gallery, RHS Harlow Carr Gardens, Brimham Rocks and a taxi firm amongst others.”
With 12 member hotels, Destination Harrogate welcomes almost 300,000 guests each year and collectively employs over 900 members of staff.
The Association has been in existence for many years with the goal of promoting Harrogate as a destination, working in close partnership with the Harrogate International Centre to promote conferences and local businesses for leisure breaks.
Members work together and with other tourism-led businesses in order to promote high standards within the industry and the town.